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Digital Pound Foundation launches to promote UK CBDC

Digital Pound Foundation launches to promote UK CBDC

An independent forum backed by the likes of Accenture, CGI Group and Ripple has launched to push for the implementation of a digital pound and digital money ecosystem.

Chaired by Barclays veteran Jeremy Wilson, the Digital Pound Foundation argues that the adoption a CBDC will underpin the UK's transition to an "innovative, inclusive digital economy and society".

Citing BIS research showing that 10% of central banks representing 20% of the world’s population are likely to issue a CBDC for the general public in the next three years, the foundation claims that a digital pound is vital to maintaining the UK's leading position in fintech.

The foundation may be pushing at an open door: earlier in the Spring the UK Treasury launched a joint taskforce with the Bank of England to explore the case for introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency in the UK.

In June, BofE governor Andrew Bailey expressed his enthusiasm for the project: “I'm very encouraged by progress on that [CBDC] front and the fact that we are getting to grips with this critical innovation. If this comes to pass, it will be one of the most fundamental innovations in the history of central banking, it will move us into a new era."

And last month the BofE and HM Treasury announced the membership their CBDC Engagement and Technology Forums, signing up a host of big names from across the UK's financial services sector.

Wilson and his group of members with industry expertise will carry out research and advocacy as they push for an "inclusive, well-regulated, secure and transparent ecosystem that encompasses both CBDCs and privately-issued forms of digital money".

Says Wilson: “Technology is transforming human interaction and money must adapt to that. The world has become a global laboratory realising the benefits of a new form of money. The social ramifications of this shift will affect everyone. The Digital Pound Foundation seeks to support the UK in bringing that about for the benefit of all.”

Accenture, Avalanche, Billon Group, CGI Group, Electroneum, Quant and Ripple are backing the effort as foundation and associate members.

Accenture is also heavily involved in a similar Digital Dollar Project, a not-for-profit to encourage research and public discussion about a CBDC in the US.

Comments: (5)

Jeremy Light
Jeremy Light - Fourdotzero - London 14 October, 2021, 10:231 like 1 like

a digital pound will be launched in the UK next year through the pingNpay payment network for small value payments (<£20) using e-money tokens (aka stablecoin) on a blockchain ecosystem 100% backed by commercial bank deposits, evidenced through a proof-of-reserve mechanism

Seamus Desouza
Seamus Desouza - Trust Payments - London 15 October, 2021, 08:24Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Exciting development.  It would be useful if the foundation was open to partners or associate participants, for early adopters into retail ecosystems.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 15 October, 2021, 11:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

"20% of the global population to get digital currency ..." China alone issuing digital yuan would almost fulfill the forecast figure. 

Roberto Garavaglia
Roberto Garavaglia - Innovative Payments Strategy Advisor - Milan 15 October, 2021, 15:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@Jeremy Light thanks for sharing such as preview and if you don't mind I'd ask you for a couple of clarifications that could be of common interest:

1) In my understanding, your project is based on stablecoin (I assume bearer), 100% backed by commercial bank deposits, so, it's easyer to consider it as a synthetic CBDCs’, since the coins would not be a liability of the central bank, isn't it?

2) Your stablecoin project will give the transactions the benefit of programmable money? I reckon that the question needs to deep dive in the infrastructure pingNpay payment network is based on, e.g. is the DLT adopted able to support smart contracts?

Jeremy Light
Jeremy Light - Fourdotzero - London 26 October, 2021, 22:021 like 1 like

@Roberto Garavaglia - on point 1 you are correct. The e-money tokens (aka stablecoin) are 100% backed by commercial bank deposits and are a claim on the these deposits.

on point 2 - the pingNpay e-money tokens are programmable through smart contracts and run on a DLT